Posts Tagged ‘No net loss’

Biodiversity offsets: the most promising nature-based opportunity for UK businesses?!

Monday, July 9th, 2012

DEFRA (the UK government department responsible for policy and regulations on the environment, food and rural affairs) recently published a report on opportunities for UK business that value and/or protect nature’s services. What does it say?

Well, the authors identified 12 promising opportunities for UK business to help protect and value nature. First among them is the development of biodiversity offsets and habitat banking. The report suggest they move from their current voluntary status to a mandatory regime.

Rank 1=: BIODIVERSITY OFFSETS, INCLUDING THROUGH CONSERVATION BANKING – an opportunity to stimulate creation of new companies and new business models for existing companies to provide biodiversity offsets in the UK, by moving from the current voluntary approach to a (soft regulation) mandatory regime.

The report mentions “soft regulation”, and describes (section 2.1, 1 of the final report) this as:

regulation or unambiguous policy interpretation by government that clarifies that biodiversity offsets are necessary in defined circumstances, and that establishes a framework for implementation to a particular standard, including through conservation banks.

The report also mentions the need to :

support for a brokering system which can provide national, regional and local choice against desired spatial delivery, and can provide transparency and ease of purchase of credits and management of contracts with those providing offset sites, all of which would reduce risk

To learn more about the business side of the report’s conclusions, dive in and read Attachment 1.

Grasslands: are they all equivalent?

Although the report’s overall outlook is positive, it doesn’t mean creating a market for biodiversity offsets will be straightforward. There are still many technical and institutional difficulties to overcome

  • how will the avoidance and reduction steps of the mitigation hierarchy be enforced?
  • how are “credits” constructed?
  • how will their prices be set?
  • how are liabilities defined?
  • who is in charge of controls and sanctions?
  • (…)
  • These questions are not new, but they deserve some detailed thinking, and transparent debates.

    Principles, criteria and indicators for biodiversity offsets

    Sunday, July 10th, 2011

    The Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP) has launched a consultative process on several documents it drafted:

  • Guidance on the BBOP standards for biodiversity offsets, under a Principles, Criteria and Indicators (PCI) format
  • Guidance on assessing how an offset actually contributes to No-Net-Loss (NNL)
  • Guidance on assessing which components of biodiversity can and cannot be offset.
  • These are important documents which may become standard best practice, especially for firms operating in countries with no established procedures or official guidance on designing, sizing and implementing offsets. Voluntary offset initiatives by private firms are particularly targeted by BBOP.

    The PCI document give a useful overview of the many requirements of offsets, and thus reveals the various specialized knowledge and know-how required to design or assess them.

    Offsetting is hard and BBOP is providing excellent and timely guidance! Don’t hesitate to contribute!